Going from fear-based to faithful obedience. {Abounding Hope :: Week 7}

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By Tammie Gitt

We’re starting the second half of our study! This week, we see Job’s fortunes not only restored but also multiplied exponentially because of his great obedience during his suffering, as well as his continuing faithfulness through the second half of his life.

Obedience brings blessings. From the time Moses prepared the Israelites to enter the promised land to the words of Christ in his revelation to the apostle John, we are reminded that following the voice of God brings his favor.

But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you (Matthew 6:33 ESV)

But what does it really mean to be obedient?

The Pharisees thought it meant following the law and the prophets perfectly. They argued over which laws were the most important. They turned obedience to God’s law from a blessing-inducing practice to a fear-based checklist of do’s and dont’s.

We, too, can fall into the Pharisees’ trap.

Think of the “laws” we have put on the Christian walk over the years. No dancing. No drinking. Read your Bible. Pray every day. Be at church every time the doors are open. Tithe. No smoking. Don’t watch R-rated movies. Burn your secular CDs.

These can be good guidelines. There’s nothing wrong with staying away from alcohol, smoking and R-rated movies. There’s everything right with reading your Bible, praying and attending church.

What makes these life choices faithful obedience to God rather than fear-based obedience to the law?

Love.

Pure, never-so-simple love.

The Pharisees thought they trapped Jesus on that one. They asked him to name the greatest commandment. No matter what he answered, someone was going to be angry.

Until he reminded them to love. And that rendered them speechless.

The message of love permeates the New Testament writings.

Owe no one anything, except to love each other, for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law. … Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfilling of the law. (Romans 13:8, 10 ESV)

If you really fulfill the royal law according to the Scripture, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself,” you are doing well. (James 2:8 ESV)

By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and obey his commandments. For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments. And his commandments are not burdensome. (1 John 5:3 ESV)

Falling out of love with God leads to falling away from obedience. Our fall – like Adam’s fall – leads to the loss of the blessings that our heavenly Father wants so much to shower upon us.

This is ultimately how Job was able to remain obedient to God. His obedience flowed out of his love for his Master.

Examine your walk with God. Are you obedient to God because you “ought to be” or “should be? How can you change your habits and thoughts to act more out of love for God and his people?

Comment

 

Abounding Hope ebookAnyone is welcome to join in this 13 week study of hope! Just grab your copy of Abounding Hope (available as a PDF download or on Kindle) and join us back here on the blog every Monday! View the rest of the Abounding Hope series here.

Tammie Gitt

Tammie Gitt

Journalist by day, blogger by night, Former youth leader, avid reader, very casual cyclist, missions advocate, amateur photographer … who wonders in words about the world in which we live. Connect with her on her blog, Just Tammie or on Twitter, @TammieGitt.
Tammie Gitt

Comments

  1. Katie Johnson (@kj_clem) says:

    This is so true, Tammie! Obedience is an act of worship, if it’s rooted in love. Thank you for the reminder!

  2. I need the reminder so often myself!

  3. “Falling out of love with God leads to falling away from obedience.”

    We so often get it backwards, thinking that obedience will lead to a greater love for God. Trying harder to be better…it doesn’t work.

    Thanks for this great reminder, Tammie!

  4. It is true how easy we can fall into the Pharisees’ trap by setting a list of “what Christians should do.”
    Thank you so much for the reminder that our act of worship should out of pure love, no hidden agenda when we come to seek Him.

    What a blessing to read this post, Tammy. Thank you!

  5. Wow! I am a couple of weeks behind on the study but it’s where I belong! I had seen that God has been changing me and calling me to change, to move out of my lifestyle of fear. As I was reading the Revelation 2:2-5 verses I wanted more info and came to this post which is so perfectly revealing his loving mercy and kindness. Change in me doesn’t come from my power but from choosing love. If I’m looking at His love I can do anything he calls me to!
    Thank you for creating this study!

    • Isn’t God’s timing amazing?!? I’m so excited that you found this study when you needed it. Keep choosing love, Sue, and let it change you.

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